Sam’s Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.
As we continue to grow and evolve as a soccer nation the professionalism of our coaches must leap forward. A growing number of people are making a part time or full time living at coaching youth soccer. This is fine as the number of kids playing the game increases we need to provide for their development within the game. Yet the standards accepted by the soccer public for the paid coaches are too low.
Parents who enroll their child in a soccer club should expect that the coaches have some qualification to coach. This is must be more than simply having played the game. The coaches must have formal coaching certification. They should be required by the club’s board of directors to have been educated in child development. Indeed for the paid coaches more than the desire to coach must be expected of them. This all goes back to the question of whose coaching our kids that I brought up in a previous blog entry. Now I want to address the professional behavior of these coaches.
One issue of professional behavior is the respect and communication between the coaches. Far too often coaches hear rumors about what some other coach has done at another club. Rather than picking up the phone and giving that coach a call as a professional courtesy the rumor is accepted at face value. The reaction frequently is to believe the rumor and a knee jerk reaction takes place. This usually results in a tit-for-tat sequence of exchanges between the two coaches or even the two clubs. This is no ones interest and only hurts the reputation of the club. Even worse is the black eye given to our sport. And worst of all is when the players are caught in the middle. The adults involved in youth soccer are meant to set the proper examples of not only good sporting behavior, but also adult behavior. We, especially the coaches, are role models to the players. It matters not if a coach accepts or denies this truth; it is a truth!
We teach the players to respect the game and to respect the opponents. So the coaches must live up to their own expectations. Respect for others in the game doesn’t stop at the technical area. Coaches must work together, regardless of the organization for which they work, to further the game in our country. The good health of soccer depends greatly upon the civil communication among the adults leading the game. So come on coaches pick up the phone and talk to your colleagues!